The other day I retweeted a very impressive video of a Japanese monk juggling a ball with his foot while skipping. It was only later that I realised it was a protest action against heavy-handed policing:
“Soui” (僧衣) is a term that refers to the traditional clothing that is worn by monks in Japan.
Recently a monk who was driving a car was pulled over by a police officer in Fukui who argued that his clothing was unsafe to wear while operating a vehicle because it limits movement too much. The officer seemed to be assuming that the long robes could get caught on the pedals or the long sleeves could get caught somewhere.
Soon the internet responded. Many people on the internet who were more familiar with “soui” showed concern about the unfair practice of punishing motorists for wearing such robes. People demonstrated their range of movement and agility while dressed in monks garb. Some young monks showed off juggling, doings flips and demonstrating martial arts while wearing the offending style of clothing. This trend has been gaining attention under the hashtag #僧衣でできるもん (“soui de dekirumon” or “I can do this with monk’s clothes”).
(… and here is my favourite “I can do this with monk’s clothes” protest tweet.)